Sociolinguistic Goals for Foreign Language Teaching and Teachers' Metaphorical Images of Culture1


  • Phyllis M. Ryan

    1. Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México
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      Phyllis M. Ryan (Ph.D., University of Utah) is Assistant Professor of Applied Linguistics at the Centro de Enseñanza de Lenguas Extranjeras, Departamento de Lingüistica Aplicada, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México.

  • 1

    This article is based in part on dissertation research which received the 1995 American Anthro pological Associatio's Distinguished Dissertation Award.


ABSTRACT  As foreign language teachers teach a language and its linguistic features, they are necessarily involved with sociolinguistic aspects of language. When they discuss culture, it becomes apparent that they have different definitions, concepts, and underlying assumptions about culture. Teachers' beliefs need to be explored as a first step toward understanding the relationship between their thinking and classroom instruction and curriculum design. Studies involving teachers of both Spanish and English as a Foreign language reveal that metaphors provide teachers with a useful visual image to represent their personal views and the elusiveness of cultural concepts. This article suggests that teachers become ethnographers investigating their own beliefs and those of other teachers while developing sociolinguistic goals For their communicative programs.